hot blustering friends: rfm on plurals, jasmine guffond and shapeless coat of arms

May 21, 2017 at 8:20 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Plurals – Atlantikwall (Silken Tofu)

Jasmine Guffond / Plurals – Live Split (Beartown Records)

Shapeless Coat of Arms – Dematerialised Landowning (Swollen Beam)

Shapeless Coat of Arms – Early Protection (Swollen Beam)

Shapeless Coat of Arms – Shapeless Coat of Arms (Swollen Beam)

 Plurals ATLANTIK

Plurals  – Atlantikwall (Silken Tofu) Double CD and digital album

Two hours of peak Plurals culled from a four-hour Belgian ultra-performance.

There’s a head-crushing, world-splitting-open intensity to the grindings; think reinforced concrete cast in a Mobius loop and you’re getting close.

Listening to this in one sitting (as I did, many times, hurtling through the misty Yorkshire countryside) ramps up the magic that long-form music casts over the sleep-deprived mind.  What starts off as huge, bulky blocks of sound being dragged across the stereo field become hot blustering friends, loudly fizzing with an energy that you miss as soon as they are gone.

The very liveness is another wonderful component to this set.  Indistinct crowd chatter merges into the softer muttering loops; you can almost hear the decisions being made as one loop replaces another, a warm swell peaks or a guitar riff is wrenched in delicious slo-mo.  The ‘HUFFMMMMM’ background flutter an integral part to the overall construction – a patina of vibrant hiss as distinctive as the Guinness tang of copper pennies.

Individual moments are hard to pin down – so consistent are the coiling, roiling undulations.  However special mention must be made of the:

  • impotent roar that emerges like Swamp Thing, streaming and fetid among the twisted mangroves (Atlantikwall #3)
  • last transmission from the silver cosmonaut as he plunges into a solar flare (Atlantikwall #4)
  • collapsing code matrix re-programming itself with organic wasp synapse (Atlantikwall #6)
  • centaur singing a mournful lament as the temple horns bellow hot spice (Atlantikwall #7)

Strongly recommended for all endurance bliss-listeners!

jasmine

Jasmine Guffond/Plurals – Live Split (Beartown Records) CD

Another set of live/LIVE/live recordings from That Plurals Band and the Australian born, Berlin based Jasmine Guffond.

Jasmine’s untitled pieces mix queasy sonic manipulation with sinister vocal wordless voicings.

Queasy?  There is a distinct lurch to these electronic base layers. A kind of off-centre swooping that leaves your stomach behind your brain as they build in intensity. To pepper the confection faint pipes and those joke-shop chattering teeth are woven into mangled samples of furniture-moving leaving small indigo traces flickering around my fingertips. The occasional foggy beat or sweet guitar plucks add a note of stability, but only to tug it away unexpectedly adding to the infernal discombobulation.

Sinister? The mood is obscure and unsettled.  Like dusk falling on the barren moor.  It’s purple and beautiful for sure but you’re feeling very much alone and that map you so carefully packed (shunning a modern GPS) is proving itself to be out-dated, damp and useless.

On this disc Plurals offer a 25 minute cliff hanger.  Seemingly endless muscular peaks of boiling synth-noise are rising out of a calm sea, like Neptune, stripped to the waist, with that trident poised, looking for aggro.   Ever so slowly the waves rise higher, becoming sheer canyons of water, carrying all manner of shipwrecks and flotsam up, up, up to crest gracefully and then crash like liquid ordnance.

A hellish document for future dreamers.

shapless landowning

Shapeless Coat of Arms – Dematerialised Landowning (Swollen Beam) cassette and digital album

Seriously wigged-out recordings from the big kahuna of St Petersburg; The No Audience Underground’s one and only Mr Anton Auster.  Anton has threaded his obscure musical silk from Rostov-on-Don though UK’s gonk-sensei Jon Marshall in the much-missed Rotten Tables Golden Meat, to his Shapeless persona (active since 2014).

Here on this clutch of exceptional tapes he strikes out alone – full of revolutionary spirit and invention!

  • rubbery rubber rubbed by blubbery blubber hands. Indistinct machines belch exhaust smoke to better obscure their foul heft.  A brief and bitter field recording (empty snooker hall, empty swimming pool) gives way to squelchy electronics spitting and spluttering – pouring limp DC spasms into your hand.
  • …a malfunction to end all malfunctions. Wet and sloppy power in a way that Wolf Eyes could never quite manage.  This eleven minute electronic workout is way beyond mere fist pumps (it loosely blurts in rhythmic spurts) invoking a mental ‘hell yeah’ through my lank fringe and Friar Tuck beard.  The final few minutes allow for essential self-reflection as a flock of tense squeals and squeaks chatter like colourful parrots.

Shapeless early protection

Shapeless Coat of Arms – Early Protection (Swollen Beam) cassette and digital album

More essential free-electric-jizz from Anton Auster experimenting with his modular synth, tape loops and tiny, titchy micro-moments of pure rush…

This is a repeating cascade of sonic bladderwrack – all pop-able blisters and gummy textures.  Not content to let anything sit for too long other sounds are introduced to the barely-contained melee.  Shattered bowling machine mechanisms rattle and smash in a loop hacked out of HOW DO THEY DO THAT? or something.  I press eject and turn the thing over feeling wrung out and used – a welcome eleven minutes spent in a dervish-like ecstasy.  Then…

Everything went black // Bubbling sulphuric and twice as stinky // an undervoice mumbles threats or love potions // the sound of lightening captured in a bottle, sparking off the curved glass sides // My Mexican dinner – the colours bright red and green floating on a frozen sea – the seals start to sing in unison, “wahh-heeer-kohhhhh”.  Tripped-out to the max this tape is one heavy contender for donk of the year!

shapeless shapeless

Shapeless Coat of Arms – Shapeless Coat of Arms (Swollen Beam) cassette and digital album

Where it all began perhaps? The self-titled album is often a statement of intent.  You’ll totally dig this ultra-primitive noise guttering and vomit soundz as they baffle up against sophisticated studies in sonic fuzz – smooth as a mole.

Examples?  Whole new kingdoms reveal themselves in the grime on you palm in ‘Gates’ a chundering loop that smothers and warps.  The wonderfully named ‘Cop-Shredder’ is as grindcore as you’d imagine but played on pocket synth, dentist drill and copper flute.  Dense and brooding, ‘S.A.’ sounds like the National Grid slowly coming to life, sparks flying from pylons, crushing any human daft enough to get in the way.

The closer ‘Spores’ plunges new depths of shapeless ‘fuh’ with a sawn-off grunt (some pig, or boar or walrus) coupled with a deeply unpleasant throb that seems to wobble and ripple in perpetual agony.

All three will payback your morbid curiosity sevenfold.  Is it too early to name Shapeless discovery of the year?

Damn essential.

 

Silken Tofu

Beartown Records

Swollen Beam Discogs / Bandcamp

-ooOOoo-

don’t trust those pillows: sky high diamonds on ian j cole, stuart chalmers and the committee for sonic research

May 14, 2017 at 9:06 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ian J Cole – The Clifton Hotel, Bristol 1 & Bristol 2 (for Cello and Moog) (Self Release/Pocklington Music)

Stuart Chalmers – Poetry of Decay (Self Release/Strange Rules)

Various Artists – The Committee for Sonic Research 33 1/3 (TCFSR)

 Ian J Cole

Ian J Cole – The Clifton Hotel, Bristol 1 & Bristol 2 (for Cello and Moog) (Self Release/Pocklington Music) CD digital album

 

Bristol in the rain

Torrential storm above me

Drown in surround sound

stuart chalmers

Stuart Chalmers – Poetry of Decay (Self Release/Strange Rules) Sold out cassette and CDr and digital album

 

Trapped in a film reel

A trophy for your time here

Poems warp and die

TCFSR 1

Various Artists – The Committee for Sonic Research 33 1/3 (TCSR) Double Vinyl Extravaganza and digital album

The first vinyl release on TCFSR is a double album of tracks by TCFSR artists British Experimental Rocket Group, Dental Drill Slips, Lone Cosmonaut, Occult Science Foundation, Schmaidl, Trixie Delight and WarpCensor.

This is the type of vinyl that I dreamed of owning as a young teenager first buying records in the 80s.

Caressing the big shiny square and admiring it’s dimensions I just know that this will be placed delicately onto my turntable only when the time is right. I can’t even imaging peeling off the shiny seal enveloping the sleeve at this stage.

It’s a breathless moment; I am sure some readers understand this intimately. It’s not just the physical smoothness of the outside packaging, like a really large brightly coloured sweet, but once unpeeled I know that the insides will contain that rich black and smooth shiny vinyl.  And when the needle hits that first groove for the very first time and the sounds seep through the static fuzziness…anything can happen.

“This is for you!” Trixie smiles warmly at me as my eyes quietly take in the montage of images, the squeaky shiny feel and the list of artists and tracks on this wonderful gift. Some names are immediately recognisable to me so I elicit a squeal (slightly muffled as we are in a public place) of delight…. a squeal of Trixie Delight.

Not that this compilation features an abundance of Trixie’s input and work, however, her presence is not superficial. Two of her most prominent tracks, ‘No Surprise’ and ‘Submarine’ are featured on sides one and two and she unites with both tourmaline hum and WarpCensor for two tracks on side four: ‘Frozen’ (a Trixie Delight remix) and ‘Camden Doughnuts.’

With Schmaidl’s track ‘Love’, Trixie can be heard counting melodically in several different languages. Finally, The Occult Science Foundation features a subtle and brief sample of Trixie’s vocal from ‘Submarine.’

Already, it can be seen that I am a strong supporter of Trixie’s varied musical output. Her vocals are warm and delicious at all times and her choice of instruments and avant-garde styling of sounds have grabbed me from the outset.  Hearing that ‘No Surprise’ has been featured on the BBC’s Late Junction recently, came, as well, no surprise whatsoever.

Overall, the collection oozes an intricate mechanical feel, from the subtle music box twists, turns and twangs in ‘No Surprise’, through to the static yet repetitive mechanical elevator sounds from Dental Drill Slips in ‘Elysium Extraction’.

Blending in however, are several tracks with an uplifting, spiraling and hugely melodic presence from Lone Cosmonaut’s ‘Code’ and the British Experimental Rocket Group’s ‘Catching Raindrops’; driving, powerful, and spirited, these artists bring a strong sense of robust posture to the compilation.

Simon Lewry, the albums producer explains the sequence development,

“The aim was to get about 16 minutes of audio on each side, and not more than 18 minutes, so that maximum fidelity could be obtained from the grooves. We tried to create four self-contained sides, rather than range across the entire double album.  You should feel a rounded musical experience if you listen to one side only.”

So, who are these artists and what do they bring to TCFSR?

Schmaidl’s music is “driven by moods, experimentation, and by time spent in nature” and this context pervasively emanates through his upbeat and distinctively developmental tracks. ‘River 1997’ transports the listener into a climate of intertwined beats, twists and turns, pushing forward, pulling back, harsher sounds undercurrent the surface textures but that beat keeps hammering away very decisively.

‘Love’, develops slowly but becomes a powerful discursive insight on love.  The Peace Prayer of St. Francis, that bleeds interestingly in to “please flip to side B”, reminding the listener of the multiple intertextual contexts available that are currently seeping through contemporary electronic experimental music and sound art.

A US based German citizen, Schmaidl’s  latest, and first physical release, ‘Hangouts’, is due to be released at the end of May in a limited CD run.

tourmaline hum is Lewry and Steve Tree, original members of Except Buses whose current focused interest is in purely electronic processing. Their opening track ‘Cranes’ on side one is an interesting mix of dark introductory tones, which settle quickly into a melodic formation whilst still carrying the heavy precise beats that developed the track from the outset.

The lightly spirited and spiraling track, ‘Fioritura’, is a short, concise instrumental piece but pre-empts the more experimental vibe of Bletchley Park Lurker, which is much edgier and has a deeper sub-bass selection of intermittent wind sounds in a call and response style, like sea creatures calling out to each other.

It is interesting to experience these two tracks from the same artist, one after the other, however; one is distinctly more experimental which brings me quickly to an interesting tangent in this selection.  ‘Rain Song’, on side two, offers a tribal approach with rich tender wooden xylophone sounds, a choir, and sensual beats, throwing forth an upbeat vibe of positivity and perseverance and is the ideal follow-on track from WarpCensor’s ‘Past Started’, which is distinctly positive and a catchy upwards swirl of melody and beats, gorgeously warm and precise. ‘Past Started’ is a visually and aurally uplifting track from Richard Zarywacs who is the last member of tourmaline hum (Lone Cosmonaut/Dental Drill/WarpCensor) to release solo work, but according to Lewry,

“he’s well in to his stride now.”

On side four I find ‘Frozen’, also a tourmaline hum track and an elegant remix of Trixie Delight’s track ‘Sleep’. The introduction is absolutely stunning and engages me immediately with its lusty and muscular beats. Trixie’s understated yet powerful vocal delivers a melody that accompanies the listener into a drifty, dreamlike state, an invitation to dream and relax intensely through harmony, melody and rhythm, but “don’t trust those pillows, pillows” and the accompanying harmonious backdrop suggests an ominous undercurrent may sweep the listener away if sleep is experienced too deeply.

I am aroused from Trixie’s slumber-induced state with alertness and a jolt-jarring thud as I am thrown into the next track from Dental Drill Slips. The industrial world is also wide awake and clanging mechanically, repetitively, overwhelmingly, so there is no sleep to be had here, regardless of Trixie’s previous dreamy siren call.  ‘Elysium Extraction’ shatters any ideas of a peaceful rest. Dental Drill Slips explains more about his approaches on his website.

”My audio work has always been about boundaries, using sound differently, devising compositions from a sparse palette (for example, a trio of compositions using only a sample of a single wave that was 0.0094 second long), molding audio from novel, often unmusical sources.”

The mechanical vibe threatens to continue with the British Experimental Rocket Group’s track ‘Catching Raindrops’ but draws with it a poetic and melodic interlude, which breaks away suddenly and then returns to regain a presence, like a battle between internal sounds and the external worldly currents that drag and pulse the listener through time and space.

‘Winnerton Flats’ on side three is an eerie landscape laid out for the listener, like a film score it sets the scene for a misty rural atmosphere, purely instrumental, perhaps creeping towards a horror themed film or psychological thriller. The British Experimental Rocket Group transcends conventional instrumental offerings by presenting “sonic experiments and synthetic compositions” as explained by Lewry, “selected tracks and recovered excerpts are being heard for the first time.”

TCFSR 2

Occult Science Foundation describe themselves as,

“Artists Provocateurs. Witnesses. Investigating the present through the capricious cracked lens of the past.”

‘Morality Cycle’ on side three is from their album Urban Witchcraft and consists of warped tones and jagged beats that seem to hold the waning and warped tones together. The interesting background melodic sample from Trixie’s ‘Submarine’ lists delicately under the surface, threatening to emerge but holds itself intriguingly back.

Lone Cosmonaut is Tree, half of tourmaline hum, archivist of British Experimental Rock Group and is also in partnership with Dental Drill as Bizarre Love Children. Lone Cosmonaut is a solo project of indeterminate duration, consisting of electronic, experimental and ambient music. Tree explains,

“Lone Cosmonaut is my solo project, where electronics, field recordings and found sounds come together with software and hardware in perfect disharmony.”

‘Code’, on side three is an expansive, spacey soundscape that sweeps in and out again but stays just long enough to entrance the listener with its presence. More of Tree’s work can be found here.

Trixie Delight’s ‘Submarine’ is both delightful and curiously hard to listen to because of its strange juxtapositions. She takes the words of the artist Frida Khalo and enmeshes them into an immersive watery soundscape where the listener feels like they are drowning…

“I want to be inside your darkest everything”

… is repeated in Trixie’s luscious velvety tones, a multi layered, looped, delicate simplicity arises out of the murky foreboding. This track is all about hope, and love, and sincerity between two lovers that know that they love in a watery darkness. ‘No Surprise’ has a wondrous deep double bass vibe contrasting with the trinket sounds of miniature mechanics and music boxes. Trixie’s vocal here is strong and almost touching on a recognisable blues – jazz style of Nina Simone with these gorgeously strong melodic tones. I can hear Trixie’s breathing between the words and I like that rawness of breath as the melody appears and disappears, rising and falling, circling backwards and forwards through the ticking and whirring delicate thimble sounds. Utterly exquisite.

I love the versatility of Trixie’s work on this compilation as well as on her SoundCloud and Bandcamp pages, as she explains,

“ I sing, I play street signs with a cello bow, I play the guitar, and I love hardware hacking & circuit bending.”

She has recently been involved in raising awareness and money for refugees through her music and combined with The Sporz (Baltimore) to raise money for the ‘Phone Credit For Refugees And Displaced People’ charity.

“It allows them to keep in touch with loved ones and support services. It also provides a safeguard for the most vulnerable, unaccompanied minors, to protect them from child trafficking, sexual assault and violence.”

So, sadly, I reach the end of this four-sided vinyl album and choose to leave the vinyl spinning so that the static fuzziness continues through my battered old speakers. This, for me this highlights the context for the album, and demonstrates how vinyl adds another layer to the production and the presentation of these artist’s hard work.

Also, the how and why of each artist bringing with them their own sense of nostalgic history and experiences through music into a present context is highlighted for me here. A context, however, that is fascinatingly warped and ruffled through sound experimentalism and postmodern blurs, dysfunctional dissolving, breaking itself consistently down into beats, sounds, jolts, solo words, hums, ticks, clacks and clicks, so I let the record spin through its grooves on its fuzzy static ecstatic and ever cyclic journey.

There’s nothing like a decent piece of vinyl to remind me of the everlasting spirals of life.

 

Ian J Cole Bandcamp

Stuart Chalmers Bandcamp

TCFSR Website / TCFSR Bandcamp

-ooOOoo-

insistent as history: rfm on dale cornish, yol, anorak

May 11, 2017 at 4:40 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , ,

Dale Cornish – Aqal (Entr’acte)

Yol – Always Leave Them Wanting Less (Self Release/Bandcamp)

Yol – Cancelled Chicken Regatta (Self Release/Bandcamp)

Anorak – If they are OK, then it’s you / The Hum (Self Release/Soundcloud)

dale cornish

Dale Cornish – Aqal  (Entr’acte) CD and digital album

DC’s most recent works have documented the careful unravelling of structure and asked important questions of placement.  Why does that have to go there?  What happens when tension flows backwards into release?  When is too little too much?

And while these territorial grids are remapped the basic building blocks of sound have not been left un-considered.  Sparse blocks are modelled in plastic forms that flow like warm liquid; components are tweaked tightly or merged into unholy couplings.

And yet it all makes perfect sense. There’s nothing in this world that doesn’t sound as if it’s not in exactly the right place at exactly the right time.

OK – that’s enough of the history lesson.  What about this modest disc eh?  On first listen Aqal is by far the most rhythmic session I’ve heard from Dale’s laboratory.  But repeated excavations suggest the whole idea of time is under the microscope here.

The inner sense of timing seems to resonate like a struck bell through each ‘Aqal Pattern’, lulling a lazy reviewer like me through a gradually decreasing sense of control.  The seconds stretch into minutes and that internal body clock (the nodding head, the tapping toe) that metronome our life gets reset on each and every intervention.

My notebook is full of sloping scribbles.

“(AP#1) Full, full, surprisingly full, saucily placed submarine pings and crisp machine-logic handclaps. Get them oars in sync! (AP#2) Ear-cuppingly intimate, a conversation between bass-crustacean, measured in bright bubbles and underwater static (if such a thing is possible). (AP#3 )Brutal dull thumps on slack flesh – a shotgun discharged – cartridges full of indigo snowflakes. (AP#4 )Tubular bells wrapped in downers and sticky bacon –Like something on the Philips label, catalogue number  4FE 8503 (1967).

(AP#5) Shuddering, soaked to the skin, a slow slipping away – drowning in an inch of water/or/ positive athleticism, chrome-plated hurdler, effortless leaping.”

You get the gist.

The final three patterns really seem to shrug themselves free of all that has gone before to emerge unblinking into a brave new world of un-time.  So…Aqal Pattern 6 introduces a succulent throb, a pulse without thought, generating waves like a stone lobbed into a lake.

Aqal Pattern 7 lopes in a graceful ellipse occasionally hurling ballast from the basket to rise ever higher.  Closer, the Aqal Pattern 8 steals a dream from Milt Jackson and replays it through unreliable nylon and bronze pipes: a slow and steady manifesto.

Are you ready for a new platform? Time 2.0?

Editors Note: If you’re tickled you’ve got to move quick.  The Entr’acte CD sold out at source – at time of posting only 7 left on Dale’s bandcamp.

yol wanting less

Yol – Always Leave Them Wanting Less (Self Release) recycled cassette and free digital album

Two exceptional 2016 live sets from Yol on this (now sold out) back-to-basics, DIY to the core, tape.

Picking Grit is a tight 11 minutes where vocal repetition ratchets up the urban hysteria to new levels of swivel-eyed tension.

I suspect Yol is using his patented, homemade ‘modual synth’ here.  Created from an aluminium mess tin, bowed yogurt pot and a viciously deployed metal fork it keeps the sound-movements smaller and friction, rather than gravity, focused.

More rubbing / less dropping.

The relatively sparse instrumentation is itchily uncomfortable and claustrophobic.  Couple this with the caustic word-pictures being painted and it’s no wonder the crowd are reverentially quiet. Either that or they’re bloody terrified.

Angry.

The jovial crowd chatter that opens ‘Hi Vis’ is soon silenced with a gentle pattering of wooden blocks and then one almighty blood-curdling scream from a fizzing Yol in fine voice.

The ‘modular-synth’ is left in its canvas tote bag in favour of the more orchestral bin lids and balti bowls giving this side a flatter, wider sound.  The vocal’s are positively deranged in subject matter and delivery ragging on a consumerist sheep-mentality that end with us,

“sniffing marker pens and buying granite worktops.”

The ‘liveness’ just oozes out of this side with a clearly mobile Yol, stalking the venue as the audience mumble and gasp.  The carefully controlled mayhem, the steel toe-capped attack and shuddering decay sprints though the ten minute set.  But as the balti bowls are hurled about for one last time, and in the instant before the cheers begin, one set of booted feet swiftly exit stage left.  Their work cleanly and precisely done.

Angrier.

yol chicken

 Yol – Cancelled Chicken Regatta (Self Release) non-physical download witchcraft

Like Miles and Dylan before him – Yol goes electric!

But no fucker dare shout “Judas” you dig?

Heavily amplified percussion and feedback that’s only just held back from a total war situation colour this download-only non-physical release.

The dull ‘klongs’ and harmonic swoops of feedback melt into an abstract/urban diatribe, a kinetic poem as the recording seems to collapse and implode before your ears.  Yol mentions Gustav Metzger’s self-cancellation concept in the notes and of course he’s nailing this exactly between the eyes.

So the question must be asked.  Has any of this mysterious percussion instrument* survived the performance?  Will my ears ever be the same again?  And of course…who throws bags of dog shit up into a tree?

As ever Yol leaves us all with another bundle of awkward questions to contemplate as the world around us crumbles.

Angriest?  Oh yes – very much the angriest.

*And what exactly is this percussive noise maker?  As the track progresses I’ve moved away from my initial idea of an amplified ice-cream carton (2 litre of supermarket vanilla), to a bubble-wrapped baseball bat being thumped with increasing force against a circa 1985 smoked-glass coffee table (chrome frame still sparkling).  Am I right?  Does it matter?

anorak

Anorak – If they are OK, then it’s you / The Hum (No label/Soundcloud) streamed digital album

Anorak is the perfectly buttoned-up moniker for one dazzling Noah Roth.

Fans of solo guitar + (and more of that ‘+’ later) will totally goof on these plucky tunes that sweep down the heart-tugging chord progressions John Fahey used to such great effect.

What I’m saying is there’s a melancholy built into the DNA of the songs that adds an authentic dustbowl twang, a thirsty longing glance between the acoustic notes and noise interjections.

This Soundcloud stream is made up of two 10 minute songs. ‘ If They Are OK, Then It’s You’ cranks up like some vintage Jim O’Rourke outtake with pure electronic waves playing alongside a steel-string acoustic guitar exploring hillbilly tunings and tumbling over itself in an attempt to stand up straight.

Of course this haste and mess is a ruse to set you up for a cascading waterfall of descending cadenzas played in the delicate style of one Cian Nugent or Tom Scott until the whole thing slips beneath the digital waves.

The real gem is saved for last, ‘The Hum’ a clear stream of harmonic pings and rich-fingered plucking, as insistent as history, guides the listener into a Ed Crawford-style circular riff.  And damn! The story-telling, personal and ever-so slightly abstract, strikes such a fIREHOSE memory-gong I’m transported back to my teenage years: lovelorn and awkward in a single note.

But of course beautiful playing needs some ugliness to react against and the ending minutes – a computer-crashing crescendo, cleverly underlines the nine minutes of prettiness you have just enjoyed.

It’s a wonderful thing readers.

Dale Cornish Aqal

Yol Bandcamp

Anorak Soundcloud

-ooOOoo-

rowdily settling in my stomach: rfm on bold oxide lust, sindre bjerga, king kungo and brandstifter

May 5, 2017 at 6:16 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Bold Oxide Lust – A Fad, Then (Self Release)

Sindre Bjerga – Almost Like Music (Spam Tapes)

King Kungo – Da Ist Der Rhein (Spam Tapes)

Brandstifter – Die Stereoiden Des Merz (Spam Tapes)

 bold oxide lust

Bold Oxide Lust – A Fad, Then (Self Release) a cassette perhaps but certainly a digital album

Effervescent and blistered electronic tone-poems enter one ear then dum-dum the precious grey fluid within.

It is, of course Enrique R. Palma to blame for detonating my magnetic mind-wipe direct from his base in Yucatan, Mexico.

This four-tracker, a quartet of future blues starts with ‘Brunei Rigs Nuns’ fizzing like damp fireworks until it moves through a movement for (1) stainless-steel frogs and (2) diamond-tipped cicadas. Most surprising is the guest pan-pipes hoffed by B. Eno (or someone)!

The sound of falling piss hails the start of ‘Cobalt/Trauma Eel’ while synthetic chords swell and bloat under the golden shower.  The longest piece on record – a hefty twelve minutes – things move from hot splatters to distant gasps and exhalations.  The organist is determined to add some decorum to this situation and play clumped, fistfuls of notes that seem to decay into soft butter almost instantaneously.

N-AU crossword fans will no doubt make a beeline for ‘Anagram Liar’ to seek some obscured pattern in the flailing muss.  I’ve never been a cryptic fan but, for the record, my findings are as follows: aqueduct field recordings meshed with Judy Dunaway scores, electric typewriter keys tapped with frenetic energy, mouth squoosh.  A winner in anyone’s book.

Enrique leaves closer ‘A Fondly If In’ to really kick out the jams.  This is a full-throttle rocker in a world where Suicide became punk’s measurement and the Smex Pustules petered-out like the bad fashion-world joke they were.   Almost 9 minutes of explosive muck and bluster that then chills-the-fuck-out and we’re transported to a soft cantina filled with warm erotic hiss.

Sindre Bjerga

Sindre Bjerga – Almost Like Music (Spam Tapes) cassette

Bjerga- a presence unmoveable!

Bjerga – a method unrepeatable!

Here stand two live performances summoned from N-AU’s Misterrrrrrrr James Brrrrrroowwwwwwwwwn.

(Side A)  We travel back in time to March 24th 2016.  We are in the fine city of Cologne (home of Spam tapes).  Prepare yourself for a tape-jaxx heavy set.

The FFW button is given some serious hammer as voices get squeaky and disco/funk grows an extra limb.  But the tomfoolery can only last so long as Sindre breaks out something more sparse and dub-wise where faint grunts waddle.

The sudden intrusion of space makes me feel uneasy and makes each click, throb and slo-tape-smear something a little uncomfortable – like watching a candied industrial process.

And while the third movement goes full-circle back to Sindre’s drone roots with a gritty, visceral chugga-chug-chugga of perfect dictaphonix roar; the final segment gets me all tight round the middle, in a post Sunday-lunch kind of way, before the rosemary and sage farts offer sweet relief.

(Side B) The dial is set two days earlier and this time we are in the home of the International Trade Conference circuit – Frankfurt!

Things start off very quietly with a muscular yet almost internal sound.  Could this be the birth of peristalsis-core?

The swallowing and bolus-juggling come in waves (natch!) squashing and releasing tight clumps of roots reggae into my innocent ears.

Any riddim is soon overpowered with searing tape roil, drone-embers and destroyed soft-rock (think Leather and Lace) until a child’s voice steals the show speaking with great emphasis.

As befitting a master Bjerga rejects the easy crescendo in favour of a return to subtle ham-fist tape warping: voices clutter and mesh with wet mouth-noise and (snip) it all suddenly cuts off.

Time travel at its finest.

King Kungo

King Kungo – Da Ist Der Rhein (Spam Tapes) cassette – plays same on both sides

Utterly charming and disarming!

This brief and beautiful tape is an on-the-spot composition of Nils Quak’s young son King Kungo running, shouting and talking inside a huge resonant bridge in Cologne.  In the background a piano loop by Michaela Melian is playing (from a previously happened-upon installation).

Both are dressed in the most wonderful natural reverb I think I have ever heard.

Simple eh?  But the sum of these parts results in a powerful listening experience, swaddled in memory and warmth.

The piano is sparse and dry – echoing through the huge space dropping ivory tears in complex patterns.  But it’s the young Master Kungo that turns these ingredients into a ray of sunshine.

The shouts and hollas let us gnarly-old adults revisit that pure innocent joy of shouting into the wind; you can hear his excitement as these sounds reflect back his practiced squeals and effectively rolled ‘r’s and trills.

The feedback loop of noise-excitement-noise-excitement is, I’ll wager, one of the universal N-AU equations and keeps us coming back to damp cellars across the globe to plug in and play.  Hearing this laid out without no pretence or posturing is most intoxicating – like the first sip of ice-cold lemonade; I can feel the fizziness flow though my head and neck, rowdily settling in my stomach.

Production-wise it sounds like nothing has been touched or tweaked so there is an occasional tape flutter or mic rustle but hey…that just makes it more real man.

An experience tape of wide-smiles and wonderment!

Brandshifter

Brandstifter – Die Stereoiden Des Merz (Spam Tapes) cassette

And of course this offering from Brandstifter couldn’t be more different.  Note to self – never expect the usual from Spam!

What sounds like tightly wound, tightly worked “FIELDS, LOOPS, NOISE, VOX” rumble, rustle and whistle between broken teeth.

After a few minutes of side one’s opening soft-factory vibes we’re treated to a hiss-symphony of subtle breath sounds all looping over themselves like Wounded Knee’s most delicate moments mumbled into the bottom of a pint pot.

In time, small electric motors power some fowl or other into a clucking mess, feathers are ruffled and breasts plumped – but look alive little goose – the farmer and family chant a Summer Isle backwards psalm.

Side two is a more free-flowing energy river and goes a little something like this

…car door/rubber knocks/more bloody geese/someone takes a marimba onto the train/dropped chocolate coins…

until a real Fylkingen text-sound experiment wraps creamy ‘b’ sounds and ‘lem’ sounds round various tonsils ending in a true babblicious fountain!

Brandstifter waltz the looping majestic!

Bold Oxide Lust

Spam Tapes / A-Music Spam Page

-ooOOoo-

pure disco imbalance: rfm on karl m v waugh, storm bugs, midmight and panelak

May 2, 2017 at 6:24 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Karl M V Waugh – o light; a lightness (Emblems of Cosmic Disorder)

Storm Bugs – Certified Originals and Vintage Fakes (Snatch Tapes)

Midmight–Cut Cut Cut Bruise (Resipiscent)

Panelak – Sunsplat/Quatsch (Urubu)

karl mv waugh

Karl M V Waugh – o light; a lightness (Emblems of Cosmic Disorder) CD and digital album

A three-part homage to light – or to life?

Opener ‘dawn’ is a shy overture.  A gathering of electric-breath and glistening themes in a cloud of expectancy leading into the 30 minute bulk of ‘light’ – moving at the speed of morning.

The gentle yawn of night is giving up, once again, to budding and unfurling mauve tendrils stroking the un-blackening blue.

Yet this is a curious and optimistic light, the bucolic synth tones rising and falling like the warmth of the spring sunshine as it pokes yellow fingers into the places darkness prefers to lurk. The rolling nature of the soft-sound lolls between my sleepy ears carrying slight dissonant pitches and moans that build and decay, build and decay…

Somewhere in the background a gruff blustering slowly gathers pace in the same way a snowball picks up stones and leaves – mimicking the creation of a tiny world.  About 20 minutes in I feel the churning emergence start to leave traces of itself – miniscule waves that shift in graceful S-bends, travelling the twin meanders in deliciously greasy detail.

The closer, a brief tropical ‘dusk,’ is altogether more hectic as fuzzing and fritzing notes buzz in Brownian motion, shimmering like moon-birds.  It’s only in the closing seconds they jettison their fragile wings, ready to propel themselves in a steep suicidal ascent into the dead vacuum of space.

The circle remains unbroken.

storm bugs

Storm Bugs – Certified Originals and Vintage Fakes (Snatch Tapes) CD in hefty vacuum-formed case, booklet and digital album

The legendary Storm Bugs are respected old-timers residing, a bug apiece, on the South Coast and Deptford (Borough of Lewisham).  Somehow this shared maritime history, pebbled-dashed openness, wide skies and neat beaches seem to run through their infectious sound.

Certified Originals is a very helpful drawing together of recent ‘dingles’, downloadable singles that play with the seven inch format in a variety of delightful ways: the three-minute pop song, the dub version, the unexpectedly superior b-side all get shoved through the Storm Bugs’ intelligent blender.

For the uninitiated get ready for SONGS…catchy verse, chorus, verse songs with real words and underpinning ideas.  But like This Heat or something these songs all get twisted into new forms creating bold statements that weave through their deceptively dark synth-pop exterior.

Make no mistake – the sweet exterior always reveals a soft-centre of something unpleasant and darkly acrid.

Starting off gently there’s no nostalgia on ‘Hisstory of the Cassette Tape’ as it playfully pokes at both collector-scum and sepia-bores.  And of course there are bonus points for rhyming “Cassette Tape” with “Ferrous Oxide bake.”

A bewildered diary entry ‘New Resolutions’ marches like a Roman Legion with the type of buzzing synth-sound EL-P loved to chuck into CoFlow jamz.  The ghost of Esquivel squirms through ‘Up the Pylon and Down the Lane’ but in a sickly sinister nursery rhyme.

‘Pity the Small’ takes me right back to those minor-key symphonies perfected by New Zealand’s Tall Dwarves but here laced with suicidal thoughts.

And this darkness reaches a peak on ‘Take it to the Top’ a discombobulating mash-up of the ‘Are You Being Served?’ theme with a Class War manifesto.

Gosh!  I need a bit of a sit down after that.

The instrumentals are measured as carefully as posh cocktails – a snitch of vermouth, a splash of bitters  – so while tracks like ‘Storm of Bugs’ could have fallen out of an Art of Noise remix 12 inch way back when Morley was a mere annoyance, ‘Ordnance Survey’ is, without a doubt, a mosh-pit breakdown.

Wondering what 60’s corn-pop tune Popcorn would sound like full of acid squelches? Clear out your lugs for ‘MitWasser’.

These kindly Bugs don’t want you to leave this disc a wreck so they save the slick beats and hummus-rich atmosphere of ‘Triangulation’ until last; a strangely euphoric piece that started to claw-back my faith in human nature and throw a few shapes around the living room.

Consumers!  Satisfaction is yours to demand.  Order a Storm Bugs solution – NOW.

 midmight

Midmight–Cut Cut Cut Bruise (Resipiscent) CDr and digital album that comes complete with another Midmight album ‘Almost Clear’

Midmight (be-masked and anonymous) offers a whole flotilla of mind-engorging short pieces on this unapologetically boisterous collection.

Some sort of electronic dissonance (hot-wired light sabre, explosive durian fruit?) takes centre stage buffing away at crumpled field recordings – often TV sound and domestic detritus – like a donkey’s tail swats bothersome flies.

The rhythm and timing of these swoops is both unknowable and difficult to categorise.  At one point they seem to batter the taped sounds into submission (‘Abdominal Cavity’), at others they accompany as delicate parsley sprinkled on fresh gazpacho – see ‘Springville Auction’ for details.

‘Make no Mistake’ seems to mould the spitting energy into a quick ska-beat; ‘Let’s Pretend’ is a slow rinser from the Wolf-dong camp.

Sucking on a pencil I decide it’s probably a mistake to over-think this set of JAMZ.

Just raise your fist and yell!

panelak

Panelak – Sunsplat/Quatsch (Urubu) Tape and digital album featuring 25 different J-cards?

A whirring, churning, ever transmogrifying mulch of lo-fi tape magic!

Phew – them’s powerful words eh?  What if I was to tell you young Pascal Ansell has created his very own Faust Tapes on this ecstatic Panelak release?

You’d read on with damp lips eh?

Huge, broad swoops of sound are moved with ease across a broad and ordered canvas.  The shudder of tape grot rubs shoulders with children singing and ukulele strums along to winged-eel keyboard.

Field recordings (a gondolier, a market place) are wrenched across a digital interface and looped, chopped and edited with fine cotton gloves.   You get the picture?

But it’s this fine sense of editing, a sure hand and a keen ear, that takes these colourful and varied sounds and turns them from dull bronze into a winner’s gold.

Each side holds a single 20 minute piece; one named Sunsplat and one named Quatsch and both contain more singular sound-moments than I can shake my walking stick at.  If your experience of this form of sound-collage/gonk montage has been ham-fisted or without any internal narrative fear not!   On this fine, fine tape Pascal has arranged each sound into a logical (un)sequence of deliberate/accidental, stressed/relaxed, acoustic/electronic.  As a result the damn thing flows like a soul-river; deep and clear and free.

Individual moments create a framework to hang your hat on; but be sure to listen out for…

Elongated moans

                 >>>vintage tape scritch & scratch

                                                                                                  >>>hi-pitch headphone feedback

Italian TV (backwards)

     >>>clunky egg-slicer manipulation>>>crab-hand guitar loop>>>Portuguese translation aid

                                                           >>>the dry plastic click of a cheap mic

Basic keyboard exercise played with three hands>>>

      unsuccessful radio tune-up>>>

                                                           old rehearsal tapes cut into pieces>>>pure disco imbalance

 

If you find joy in the miniature click your heavy fingers on the link and listen to the sweet action.

Dial up P.A.N.E.L.A.K for mighty change.

 

Emblems of Cosmic Disorder

Snatch Tapes / Storm Bugs

Resipiscent

Urubu Tapes

-ooOOoo-

corn toes throb: rfm on diatribes, yearning kru, sophie cooper & julian bradley, sam andreae/david birchall/otto willberg and kay hill

April 27, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Diatribes – Sistere (Mappa Editions)

Yearning Kru – Swumpengelf (Mantile Records)

Sophie Cooper & Julian Bradley – The Blow Volume 3 (Front & Follow)

Sam Andreae/David Birchall/Otto Willberg – Hair in the Chimney (Heavy Petting/Vernacular Recordings)

Kay Hill – ANARAK (Invisible City Records)

Kay Hill – Summit Tapes pt 2 (Strange Rules)

diatribes 

Diatribes – Sistere (Mappa Editions) Handsomely-boxed C40 tape and digital album

A new-to-me name, Diatribes, are a Swiss improvising duo – D’incise & Cyril Bondi – who offer us two damn-fine, side-long, ritualistic explorations.

‘Tabi-Tabi’, this woozily hypnotic twenty-minute rhythm workout starts like a boredoms drum-circle with a handful of percussion (bells, shaker, bamboo claves, half bag of rice and those damn shell contraptions) round a campfire and stays near enough in that vein for the duration.  Off-kilter electronic fingering appears around the edges and new shaken textures begin swooping in over the central heartbeat.

A lazier reviewer would play the Steve Reich card but this seems in no way minimal.  Sure there’s not much in terms of shifting sonic content but the arrangement and variety of dryness verses simple clattering brass is filling my soft head with little tinkles like I done an ASMR youtube marathon.

The pulse never changes…but just when I think “I’m about to leave my earthly body, swooped to heaven with winged heels…” a series of thin ringing tones guides my soul back into this slumped form on a silver wire.

I’m a cotton-mouth shaman!

The contrast of ‘Utsara – Utsara’ couldn’t be more pronounced.  Double-deep floor-tom beats in half-time with a sultry resonance.  It sounds human-played with deft smears and deep-red ringing.

Imagine your favourite gamelan record slowed down and ironed out to a single fragrant strike repeated over and over again while something lurks behind the mix hissing and spitting.

This is the music of waiting for bad things to happen and listening is an uneasy, spiritually distant experience – there is no euphoria in the repetition – just slowly creeping dread like the crops failed and goat milk has gone sour.  Why’s everyone looking at me?

I’m a cowering villager!

yearning kru

Yearning Kru – Swumpengelf (Mantile Records) tape and download

What the Dickens tape-mulch that sounds like a super-high-gloss production being ruined by an unexpected plutonium pulse and scrambled forever.

This tape is such a delight because of it’s extremely twisted DNA.  No sound is left unmolested for a moment – each digital bang or gritty slump is smothered in maximal oddness, then wrung out, then laid out on another freakish griddle.

I’ll try to make sense of it for you but I fear I’m too old…

  • Swooshing, the colour of Vogue Magazine – all fleshy beige (Canisters in the Marsh). A three-part structure is implied but never enforced: smeared samples, a clock ticks backwards drips behind, smashed glassy tinkles blink.
  • Unpleasant whalloping (Gulping Boulders) and dropped iron vases. Corn toes throb.
  • Beamed direct from Hell (Nightbrightener) as Dante attempts to sing his way out over a barrage of malfunctioning bass machines and melting RAM.
  • One recognisable mbira is a brief oasis (Tattoo (Petrol)) until my bratty breath is looped (The Address) like no human mouth could ever, ever, ever…it ends in desperate scratchin’.
  • This is no conventional medley (U Neva Glissend) but a hint of Sunday School organ gone random while the bad kids glitch and moan in the pews.

[Ed’s not: despite the computer-led approach, Cronx’ Yearning Kru leads directly to Hull’s Yol on my why-aye-player and the segue into gritty, real demolition sounds perfect – hey people – let’s make it happen!]

Fans of Guttersnipe and Autechre form a queue please…

front and follow

Sophie Cooper & Julian Bradley – The Blow Volume 3 (Front & Follow) tape and digital album

RFM’s very own Sophie Cooper and his Excellency the Julian Bradley have been creating soft bubbles of weirdness for many years ploughing fuxxed-electronics, vocal grease and guitar-moff in a variety of solo trips, swift duos and long-lived freakbands.  Pledging their troth to the way-out they formed The Slowest Lift (check press for details) but on this fayre tape they play under their own names.  No less sloe! No less lifting!!

OK…that’s the scene set.  What you’ve got here is two sides of ferric huss that runs the gamut from ‘thundering whale barnacles’ to ‘cardamom fueled intoxication.’  The controls are jammed into the red from the off with maximum distortion, reverb and delay of a type so strong it begins to punch through the fog that obscures the river bank that I’m squatting beside.

Details?

Tracks like ‘Wish Me to Forget You’ a gruff-electronic-folk-sonnet wonders what became of the hangman’s beautiful daughter.  ‘The Body’ considers the mysteries of the fallow field.  Full of shuddering wormy detail and slowly rejuvenating with essential nitrates!

Super-slow and re-imagined ‘Greenhead’ is as catchy as Under Mi Sleng Teng and fair forms a crust with them steel-pan clonks that count it out…5,4,3,2,1.

The three-part movements of ‘Nowhere from the Water to Go’ starts with (1) misty-eyed spirals of multiple guitars picked in the spirit of Portugal’s Manuel Mota – rugged plucking looped over thumbs like cat’s cradle – until (2) all sin is washed clean with thick, bassy waves of caustic tone spitting like a red-hot poker plunged into rough cider.  The coda (3) haunts in its brevity – a pickled pepper of all that’s gone before.

Up-to-the-minute tape-scroll and scratch-jaxx infects the short neighbours ‘My Muscles’ and ‘The Mirror’.  The former a black-dark fustering of synth-tones, dragged copse and dislocated voice the later a bona performance of séance gymnastics.  Lo!

The spookiest of the bunch, ‘Congratulations,’ showcases floating twin vocals becoming an almost-ghost.  No doubt a terrible tale is being told over a tune as loose as a Bardo Pond jam from way back.

Seriously delightful, yet quivering with restraint.  Sort of like sweeping an experienced hand over the powerful flanks of a gelding.

birchall etc

Sam Andreae/David Birchall/Otto Willberg – Hair in the Chimney (Heavy Petting/Vernacular Recordings) CD

Ecstatic three-way improv shunting with many fingers.

That idea of complex gets a bad rap eh?  In a world where simplification and convenience are sleepwalking us into some sort of human stasis we often shove anything difficult or involved on to tomorrows ‘to-do’ list.

Those real-gone physics-beards have got the right idea though.  They claim even the thorniest, knottiest equation can be beautiful.  A problem so complex so wide and deep and long that most of us mere mortals can’t even understand the damn question gets wrapped up and buffed into a solution all brief and balanced  – achieving beauty.

So along with the Prof Yaffles: Sam Andreae/David Birchall/Otto Willburg invite us to smudge their chalky equation with our fresh ears.

Hair in the Chimney is an ultra-complex, lovingly-layered and nuanced peak into a virtually infinite system of sax, guitar and double bass techniques.

Don’t get your Zappa out! These techniques are a million miles from prog’s privileged meanderings (and for that matter refreshingly free of improv cliché) and almost telepathic as any squeak, belch or ‘boing’ travels from sax to guitar to bass in a second.

There’s three lengthy pieces here, long enough to get dug in and explore an ever changing landscape of some new improv patois.  The textures move from brittle and broken to bulbous and ripe over the course on each imagination.

And though you might expect that with two string-bringers there’s an overreliance on pluck.  Not so! The guitar and bass are as happy to hum and wobble as the sax is evidently delighted to quietly pop from time to time.

Of course it’s not all about speed and mimicry. The sympathetic support of each instrument and player is super-palpable as each voice is selfless enough to bring out the best in each other.  Be that a slow dripping, almost Sonic Youth-style, electric gamelan or a razor-sharp ladder of tones, each essential to the overall sculpture.

Floats as easy as lubricated conversation.

kay hill

Kay Hill – ANARAK (Invisible City Records) C20 tape and digital download

A welcome return from Ben Hallatt.  A fine player who first ruffled my feathers a coupla years back at the glorious Crater Lake festival –  then proceeded to gently massage my shoulders, taking great care to conceal a syringe of potent sedative that could be plunged into my neck when least expected via a slew of marvelous releases.

Here under the Kay Hill moniker he continues with what I previously described as eerie-urban-horror with muted synth and tape work.

On the mysteriously illusive ‘ANARAK’ (no info save from the artist and title) Ben offers two sides of insistent minimalism that flick with cold urgency like Morse code distress signals. The stately and austere construction of these pieces nudges Ben further away from the noise-dingus camp into a zone of bespectacled academia and ultra-minimal electronics with the implied threat of early Wolf Eyes/American Tapes/Hanson releases.

I guess the rotating orbs we hear are reels of analogue tape floating with thudding rhythms that are offset by smears of static gristle and clunk. Ben constructs his tracks like a plate spinning exercise of noises, his timing and flair for adding and subtracting sounds at the right time is impeccable. (Luke Vollar)

kay hill summit tapes

Kay Hill – Summit Tapes pt 2 (Strange Rules) C20 and digital download

‘Summit Tapes pt 2’ continues the engrossing drama with high lonesome tones smooshed with low key grunk and fleck.

The forlorn, barely-there conclusion of the first side sounds, for all the world, like the slow journey through an underground cave-river to an unknown conclusion.  A dim light illuminating the craggy rock and the knowledge that you may well be facing the end alone.

The subtle and eerie unraveling of the second side has a slow and steady whistle rising like Doctor Octopus’ steely tentacles within a claustrophobic vortex . I keep going back to horror as a comparison but it does seem appropriate with Kay Hill as he has a gift for building tension and dread that, like the best horror films, focuses on the drawn-out suspense and fear – not the grisly climax.

So it’s fitting that there is no grisly climax to be found on either of these Hill tapes; and as the muted keys whir and crunch, half remembered voices play out ‘side b’ like a waterlogged fifth-generation tangerine cassette.

I am again extremely impressed. (Luke Vollar)

 

Mappa Editions

Mantile Records

Front & Follow

Heavy Petting / Vernacular Recordings

Invisible City Records

Strange Rules

-ooOoo-

slip away into the great digital night: the midwich review pile and nine clumsy haiku offerings

April 23, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Posted in musings, new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fells – Menhir (Self Release)

Traven – ЯTLLCTЯNCS (Aetheric Records)

Sad_Rave – Add Red (Don’t Drone Alone)

Algobabez- Burning Circuits (Fractal Meat Cuts)

Ewa Justka – Acid Smut (Fractal Meat Cuts)

Epipohra – Love Songs (Self Released)

Mattin “Songbook #6 (Munster Records/Crudités Tapes/SDZ/Insulin Addicted)

David Greenberger, Glenn Jones, Chris Corsano – An Idea in Everything (Okraïna)

Alan Courtis – Los Galpones (Fabrica Records)

 

Life!  It’s all a bit of a balancing act eh?

On one hand I’ve been bemoaning poor attendance at live shows.  Is a crowd of 6 people at a gig still worthy of the title ‘crowd’?   But, on the other hand the amount of downloads, tapes and CD-Rs that we in the N-AU put out seems to be increasing exponentially.

I get it.  Sometimes getting out the house can take military planning and a frugal counting of pennies.  For many of us life is a careful juggling act with work, family, artistic practice, economics, study and health just a few of the balls in the air at any one time.

Or, leaving the house could even be a very reasonable reaction to world affairs.  Things are so fucking fucked pulling the covers back over my head in the morning sometimes seems to be the only sane thing to do.

For many of us staying in results in getting more done.  There’s more time to plan/plot and record. Using free software to create, edit and distribute your work means a project can move from brain-spark to universally available download in an afternoon.  And while the N-AU has always had a prolific work-rate, releasing something every couple of months is becoming the new norm.

Hoorah and good gravy eh?

But herein lies the rub.  For the last 3 or 4 months we at RFM have been staggering under an increasingly huge listening pile – close to 150 releases.  Try as we might; the regular chipping away from us old hands and even taking on a clutch of talented and exciting new writers is not making a huge difference because each passing day adds another multi-album download or set of (generally wonderful looking) links to the pile.  And of course we’re human too and all juggle work, family, artistic practice, economics, study and health along with this extra listening and writing.

We’ve reached a point where something has to give.

So apologies to anyone who has been waiting 6 months plus for a review – it’s probably not going to happen – but I suppose you guessed that already.  We are going to keep the 50 or so recordings we have personally agreed to, but the rest of the pile will respectfully slip away into the great digital night.

Nothing happens at Midwich Towers without debate and this is not a decision that we arrived at lightly.  But it does mean we can get back to doing what we set out to do: share passionate and energetic writing about the music that matters to us as it happens.

In the meantime here’s some snatches from the notebook hoofed into a clumsy haiku format…

fells menhir

Fells – Menhir (Self Release) tape and digital album

Wonderful breathing:

Granite sighs with great effort.

A bright moon looks on

traven

Traven – ЯTLLCTЯNCS (Aetheric Records) 3” CD-r and digital album

Spanish moss hangs low –

hissing tape, werewolf’s foul breath

no silver bullets…

sad rave

Sad_Rave – Add Red (Don’t Drone Alone) CD-r and digital album

Flickering notes from

a faithful Pisaro score.

Chat.  Sine-wave edits.

algobabez

Algobabez- Burning Circuits (Fractal Meat Cuts) tape and digital album

Real-time coding act.

Beats liquefy into goo,

Brain-melt soon follows.

acid smut

Ewa Justka – Acid Smut (Fractal Meat Cuts) tape and digital album

Sid James – “Haw, Haw, Haw”

dripped with a caustic liquid.

Dancing feet scrubbed up.

epiphora 2

Epipohra – Love Songs (Self Released) non-physical release

Mashed through dark velvet.

Maybe a jealous lover

bent up your best shades?

mattin

Mattin “Songbook #6 (Munster Records/Crudités Tapes/SDZ/Insulin Addicted) 12” vinyl and digital album

Severe warp and fuxx

Genre-free rock played like jizz

Don’t resist – give in!

greenberger

David Greenberger, Glenn Jones, Chris Corsano – An Idea in Everything (Okraïna) double 10” vinyl and digital album

More Duplex stories

Banjo and drum improvise

Lost wisdom and joy.

alan courtis

Alan Courtis – Los Galpones (Fabrica Records) limited edition vinyl LP and digital album

Overlook Hotel.

Evil lives in the walls here.

Guitars drive them out!

Fells Bandcamp

Aetheric Records

Don’t Drone Alone

Fractal Meat Cuts

Epiphora Soundcloud

SDZ Records

Okraina Records

Fabrica Records

-ooOOoo-

 

forcing the entire world thru the ghost of a worn-out shredded nail thread: joe henderson on an eiderdown records easter special – the year of the rabbit

April 19, 2017 at 5:08 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Story of Rats / Hellvette – Split (Eiderdown Records)

Gonzalez & Steenkiste – Stuffed With The Down Of The Eider (Eiderdown Records)

Hound Dog Taylor’s Hand- Live at the Comet (Eiderdown Records)

Woven Skull – Emissions from Sun Bleached Brains (Eiderdown Records)

Bird People – Down of the Hasma (Eiderdown Records)

Gregg Skloff – The Glacial Enclosure (Eiderdown Records)

Jake Blanchard – Colour Discolour (Eiderdown Records)

Bent Pyramid Trio/ The Shouts From the Sea – Split (Eiderdown Records)

Prana Crafter – Mindstreamblessing (Eiderdown Records 2017)

Somesurprises – Serious Dreams (Eiderdown Records)

Easter-Shrine

I have in front of me three cassettes. I also have Bandcamp links and a number of mp3s. They are all from Eiderdown Records, in Seattle. I chose ‘em. I consult Discog’s for information.

The releases span roughly five years. I feel a puzzle is to be solved. I am looking down the open grove of trees, at a path yet taken. The urge to contact my editor for a quick resolve is there. But for now I will resist it and admire the dates as if they were counting down to some future event, all partnered up in artwork duos, twin-sets of thick printed double colours. That’s the Eiderdown Way. All releases on cassette tape, some available, some sold out. But all put together they remind me of a comic book strip, that goes like this:

a story of rats

A Story of Rats / Hellvette – Split (Eiderdown Records 2012) Split tape and digital album

Track one: The ‘deep vibes scene’ of the Pacific Northwest, Garek Druss & James Woodhead: AKA A Story of Rats & other. 19 min’s wandering thru the last route taken by Laura Palmer. Deep swells, UFO’s, tremolo sap greening bright fluorescent, and a few ghostly voices. Melody breaks the inhuman sphere. The clearing. A tongue comes in. It’s backwards looking. Opens up into protocol. The humans are coming.. .

A soft plod. Menagerie of grey-tailed parrots applying pressure to their own necks. Reminds me.

Tracks two – five: Before I know it we have skipped a few miles. It is SYLVESTER ANFANG ‘s Glen Steenkist. The accordion swells. If it is that at all. It is an air organ. Swirling. Hypnotic. Cathedral.

You’ve just got to slow down, space your letters, don’t dash your punctuation, don’t join up, half-it.

It stops, for once. It’s retrospect. Harvest-like. Shuttered backwards through a field of maize. Sunshine. Leaving tracks in the floor. A newly formed memory. Slightly disintegrating. Moving downwards. To the place of forgotten dreams. And sly bubbles. And synths. And something in between the air gland again & the well-rounded little option on a keyboard (I miss those). Hermes continues to smile from the wall out there. As always, but this time craning low. A bunch of fairytales beside him. Half broken, half working; illuminating. By a battery box. – TIME – bowed banjo, harmonium, tampura, and Casio. There you go.

Cassette SOLD OUT. Super limited “bootleg” version cassette: All tracks dubbed on one side of a 100 min cassette. Side B left blank for you to dub your own music on it.

gonzales

Gonzalez & Steenkiste – Stuffed With The Down Of The Eider (Eiderdown Records 2012) Tape and digital album

Three tracks.  Track one; bowed metal and air. The sense of circular gestures, I imagine it to be calming. Physical. Tactile. Not synthetic. Not synthesized. But in volume. Loopified. Pulling at two threads. Stop.

A tune in the dried up grass. Gentle. Concerned for each other, in a non-charitable way. Like brothers.  Striving to make things better, in a tiny microcosm on a field. Surrounded by houses. Displaced. Cancelling out the manufactured skyline.

The breathing exercises continue. Made public. Like a cut in time. I get to thinking about how we are not free. That free-will and potentiality are just different words for chance and chaos. Walking the line, as if being tested by a police officer. The bright blue strand of lineage. The cat-eyes that light up the road.

Closing the window for a while because it is my right, or option. To be in the world or to halt. And world a place right here, right now. Worlding the moment you retreat from “them”. And encounter “them” in another place. The transportation of music has made it possible for us to be with others. With their dreams. Their fantasies. Their drives. I am listening to the sound of a man scrape the walls of a metal cave, I can even hear the monkeys outside in the jungle. Is it a ritual?

I look at the vent half plastered over in the far side of the wall. Is it an attempt to cover up the vent? In wavy lines. An ornate pattern of holes that I had never noticed before.

I become aware of my pace. My punctuation. My breath. Picking up tiny mounds of wisdom along the way. That I rattle imperceptibly in my hand. My fingers aware of the air. Correcting myself. I like how this music compresses the air, as if it were being played as an accordion itself. Pleated time and space crumpling and expanding in designed concertinas.

They are Belgians, these too. The Anfang guy again with Ernesto Gonzalez. Released in 2012 and all SOLD OUT. Makes you think of the bliss of the ‘original’, that we all, seemingly unwitting or not, follow. The glow of the most bitter and finest. Tinsel like. This is an attempt at redemption. I mean to say an attempt to speak thru the Distorian. Through the hand that muffles your snout. The internet soon breaks. We’re all left alone on a cloud. Unable to talk. Unable to speak to each other. In Australia. Bites hard, the fingers tapping down. Predicting the past. A bend in the pipe. And then a hard finish. Which makes me impressed with that. Like an orphaned duckling.

Bootleg version still available: All tracks dubbed on one side of a 100 min cassette. Side B left blank for you to dub your own music on it.

Hound Dog Taylor

Hound Dog Taylor’s Hand – Live at the Comet (Eiderdown Records 2014) Tape and digital album

Hound Dog Taylor throws a rusty old bike into a lake of river water that’s swept into town (see, we can play with time – it’s guitar and drums). I’ve become anxious.

What is this non-existent howling coming from the courtyard outside?

Good, I’ve become sentient again. Climax Golden Twins man Jeffery Taylor has been jamming with Ostrowski & Seman. There’s double bass.

First ever release by Seattle’s secret weapon against the tech squares and yuppie droolers! . . “Live At The Comet” is a document from a town that doesn’t even know what’s good for it” – says Eiderdown Records.

 Windows open and close quite energetically upstairs. Pain fecks (or paint flecks) rain down. The hairdryer or likewise is activated. No, it’s definitely a deliberate hoover. Aggressively cleaning the hallways upstairs. I am confronted and close huddled to these kinds of sonic events that ring down thru the courtyard that amplifies micro-details like the squawking of the birds and that same mans laughter. Just breath in time with the words, said to the cleaner. And slam the brakes down on these old walls. Everyone is in silence.

Cassette available (with perhaps the coolest artwork of them all)

woven skull

Woven Skull – Emissions from Sun Bleached Brains (Eiderdown Records 2015) Tape and digital album

 (Aonghus: Guitar, bells, field recordings, Gamelan, wooden flute. Natalia: Mandola, Gamelan, Scrap metal, wooden flute. Willie: Percussion, Gamelan, Wooden flute. With others. Recorded between 2013 & 2014 in Drumnadubber. Antwerpp. Occii. Amsterdam. Queens University. Belfast)

 This is one of the tapes I have between my fingers. I begin down this twisted path. The trees make tunnels. Rain. Sudden and reliable. The most soothing of all waters. The mystery remains. They are Irish. I begin to satisfy my laziness. The day becomes an option. We have entered sacred territory now. Time is better. It is not so frightening. The walls become a healthy option. Like some decision made centuries ago. I turn the corner slightly. The course of the future. It’s all a game now. With no winners, only players. I zone in on the voice now and it startles me. Something has entered the realm, or I have left. This is magical realism. An invocation of the artistry. The artisans of past. The Old Ones. Who knew how to operate the forest. And the seas. The Old Ones who have come to look at their children. And what they have done. It’s the smoke from waste incinerators that seems to make our environs clean and pleasant to be around and in. I live for those drums. That synchronisation. Something faintly emerging from it. That sounds like a voice. And then it gracefully ends. Somehow we have entered the last third of the second track. I wonder if this is numeric. There’s moss growing where it shouldn’t be. We should not hack this of life. The earth is an emerging artwork. Only seen by our worlded eyes.

  • The Uncertain Shuffle / A Sweeping Minion And A Man-Made Goat / A Toad Till Now.
  • First Three, Then Seven / Stoned Teenage, Listening To Tangerine Dream (part 2) The Quivering Few.

 Cassette available

bird people

Bird People – Down of the Hasma (Eiderdown Records 2016) Tape and digital album

 ‘The bird-hipped group’. Is the first thing I wrote of this. Whilst I was reading about T-Rex & Britain (that fictional island). Working in the sewers. Having a genuine holiday whilst listening to this release. That’s from 2016.

Our future in the sun. Hanging off the edge. Dangling. The dam synchronicity. The bell taunts from a newly formed occasional windows message. At precisely the same time. We have taken some few steps towards the opening of another dimension. And we walk thru it confidently. We make a quick promise to take it with us wherever we go. And that is a little one of the magic’s of musical ‘stuff’. We kinda touch fingers, and everything becomes a little bit shorter. A little bit more.

(I will talk about artist Jake Blanchard, who’s made the imagery for the tape, later.)

Bird People are from Vienna. Turns out there is myth-istry in the duck and the Eider. Something about the Hamsa. Someone wants to go back.

 Lap steel guitar, electric bass, voice, cello, fiddle, sitar, shruti box, gong, percussion, bansuri, alto sax, harmonica, oscillator, and bells. From 14/15. Winter. Uli Rois, Roy Culbertson III, Réka Kutas, Steffi Neuhuber and Lucas Henao Serna.

It’s still bellowing. With string and air. It’s like a wooden Nintendo-65.

There’s some sitar now. And the soothing bellows. The drone again. Who would have known that a sub-genre would become equated with these creepy little entities that we’ll have to become acquainted with very soon. Or else live in the shadow of a shadow world.

Chewed up India. Mixed up with America. Something rustic about this introspection. It’s still whirling. On a pleasant Easter afternoon.

It’s all gone Jungle Book, one of the best. We’re still here. I feel as though I am looking backwards at a marathon I have just run. I put on the shawl of India. And sit here, in Brighton. As the music has ended. And the seagulls talk in increasingly complex fashion.

 Cassette available

gregg skloff

Gregg Skloff – The Glacial Enclosure (Eiderdown Records 2016) Tape and digital album

 Cryptic contrabass, ‘objects’ and ‘effects’. Olympia WA. 2014. Nehring on artwork. Weathers on the Master. At the Little Blue House by Kevin Doria.

What is this? And who are you? Are questions bought to mind when I’m tapping. Gregg Skloff. The time flies by right throughout the day. I pay close attention to the keys, as they are always present: dangling. Puts me in the oeuvre of ‘Miasmah Records’ in Scandinavia, Norway.

I feel the lineage, a rope in the blizzard. Pipes, wooden pipes with reverb stuck on them. WITHIN. BENEATH. OVER. AFTER. THE GLACIAL ENCLOSURE. The scoop calls closure. They go on. They’ve got echoes to catch up with.

Decriminalise human behaviour. We will continue on. It is drone. It is a discipline. It is to see into the future. It is all about time. And the stretching of time. Somehow thru sound. The making of sound physical. As it has always been. Imperceptiblebeginnings to track three that lush into a private and introspective hum, one that’s just for yourself. Not the kind of music, as has been said before, to play with companions. This is private music. For you, and you only. It’s all gone silent.

Cassette available

 jake b

Jake Blanchard – Colour Discolour (Eiderdown Records 2016) Tape and digital album

Keeps goin’.

Scissor snaps. Sundays blur into Sundays. And then the rain shifts, he’s doing something mathematically wet. They’ve stolen the duck tunes. It’s of no use to them. Intermittent.

Quite relaxing for this supposed Brighton Beach scenario, where I’m all holed up in a basement. That’s the way it is.

It’s pretty, this. Like jewelry. Where are they when you need them? A reddish ecstatic.

Intermittent: joyous snake. Digitized. Searching the horizon for home.

The line blinks. We’re still here. I am watching ‘Arrival’. Long drones let us know we are here. The eyes set downwards. “You can do this”.

Released in 2016 with some nice pink and green screen-print of a mammal on a tree.

Pigment // The Witches horse-Block // Distant Migration

“Electrifying shahi baaja and other contraptions”

 Cassette available

 bent

Bent Pyramid Trio/ The Shouts From the Sea – Split (Eiderdown Records 2016) Tape and digital album

 (BPT. Ambrosia Bartosek. Voice & Electricity. James McClellan. Reed & Floor work. Adam Svenson. String & Metal. Recorded live at Hollow Earth radio for Magmafest Eiderdown Sound Salon. 3 – 2015 / TSFTS. Patrik Cain & Phong Tran. Recorded “live” at Richmond House. January 2016)

 A twitch. It’s sounding right now. I check to see if the world is still closed off. I will continue as long as you have my hands bound behind my back. Conducting my business as usual. Tinkering. The bells. A stroke of genius. Wistful. Because they cannot make noises. It’s two tracks. One from Bent Pyramid called “Three points”, one from The Shouts From The Sea called “Untitled.  Swinging, jostling. These are faint and warbling. Lots of little sounds.

A device in your hand. Some kind of Walkman. Encouraging. Enthusiasm, tempered by the physical properties of metal. And clapping hands.

Tinkering about in loops. And beating. Breaks into my kind of rhythm. The one you dread to describe, or pin down. It’s nice now that there are voices travelling backwards. A siren winding down. At night. Something squeezing past the alleyway. The bits of rubber. Elongated waste. Quite erratically whirling around. Gurgling. Ascending. I leave it be. There is a siren. It cannot be! Plucks us into ‘The Breathing’.

Blue & purple artwork of a three faced naked Cyclops-persona.

 Cassette available

prana crafter

Prana Crafter – Mindstreamblessing (Eiderdown Records 2017) Tape and digital album

Very beautiful, sounds live at the start. Reminds me of Mayonnaise. The day belongs pretty much to us. Let’s walk along the path of honesty. Find out what music can do to you. Softly softly. Whilst cutting a filthy figure. Digits roll down. You’ve burnt your tongue. Like a cloud, splintering at the seam. Always looking a little bit further past the rift. Each track distinct. A new mood. Impressed upon you. I’d forgotten what a good nights sleep felt like. My limbs, like Luminous Clouds. It’s a bright and chilly Easter Monday morning in this part of the world. I forget it is The Year of the Rabbit, mist rolling in over The Downs. Joined with me is Prana Crafter aka Will Soll, gusting by my left, but your right shoulder (an enduring riddle). I leave the rest up to fate…

At Agartha’s Gate // As The Weather Commands // Praina Pines // MindStreamBlessing // Luminous Clouds // Bardo Nectar

Purple and green picture of a four-poster bed with a tree in it and a lizard on top in some fantastical volcanic landscape.

 Cassette available

 somesuprises

Somesurprises – Serious Dreams (Eiderdown Records 2017) Tape and digital album

The guitar plucks intro is reminiscent of Hope Sandoval (yes, Joe – I told you I wouldn’t use comparisons) – but whilst we’re at it, Marissa Nadler too. The peach guttural of Cat Power. That phonic embrace, the mouthing of the words.

Now, for a certain disposition at times, I would say that this constellation of invocations may actually serve a purpose for people like me. If you are like me. And like Cat Power et al. All standing in a circle holding hands. Sisterhood.

 Noun: a quasilegendary nymph of the Rhine who lured sailors to shipwreck on her rock by singing: a creation of Clemens Brentano in a poem of 1800.

Strumming my arteries, this is a nice sensation. I feel as though I could welcome anyone in right now, to tea & cake & some surprises. I look like shit, I feel like shit, but this is civilized. No-one will suspect me.

It is beautiful, and past-tense, and hurrying back in time. Infinitely sad. In a retrograde way that you will recognize when you see it. Like this sadness has always been around; I only just noticed it. I only just read the news today. I*just* didn’t have the time to think about it. Somesurprises here are trying to think of things that make me sad. And introverted. But I blame it on the news and turn away. ‘Cause I know I’ll be coming back to this one solely because of my disposition. It is undeniably beautiful. [A past commentary].

Part two of the aforementioned landscape mini series. This time it’s a pile of alphabetty-style bone things with a chimney bit ontop that is smoking and a river in the foreground. El-Sergany & Medina w. Luelle. Washington.

Eiderdown says: “late night sound epitomized…true hypnagogic odes to the spaces in between dreams and reality, form and fiction”

mayor skipped town / srs drms // late july // all my failures // low on sleep // 21st century cigarette.

Cassette available.

Thanx Eiderdown Records in Seattle for occupying my mind for the last month or so with spiraled curly audio-forms and carefully chosen relics from the distant present-era.

Next up is an ECLAT (Every Contact Leaves A Trace) special for May: ‘The Year of the Waking Machine’.

We leave you with this month’s installment of pavement topics:

THE APRIL STREETS EPISODE

“You’ve fooled me time and time again, Brer Rabbit, but now it’s my turn to pay you back. I’m going to teach you a lesson you’ll never forget and when I’ve finished we’re going to eat you for supper.” With that Mr Man called his daughter to guard Brer Rabbit and stamped off angrily up the garden path. Brer Rabbit stayed very quiet until Mr Man was out of earshot. Then, to the little girl’s surprise he began to sing. In those days Brer Rabbit was a very good singer, though not many people were aware of the fact. The little girl was delighted and as soon as he had finished she begged him to sing some more. Brer Rabbit coughed harshly. “Oh I don’t think I can sing any more, little girl. You know I haven’t been well at all and I don’t want to damage my chest. “ “Oh please, Brer Rabbit. Just one more.” “Impossible, I’m afraid. I could dance for you instead of course. There’s nothing wrong with my legs and you may not believe it but I dance even better than I sing.” “Yes please, Brer Rabbit. Oh yes, do dance, I’d like that.” “Not possible, unfortunately.” “Oh please,” said the little girl. “Just look at me. How do you think I can dance trussed up like this? I can hardly waggle my ears let alone move my legs.” “Let me untie you then,” said the little girl. “You can if you like,” said Brer Rabbit coolly. The little girl bent down and untied all the knots in the fishing line – and Brer Rabbit was free again. He looked around cautiously for any sign of Mr Man, but he was still busy in the house. Brer Rabbit did a rapid pirouette. “Just watch me dance, little girl,” he shouted as he raced for the garden gate. And Brer Rabbit danced all the way home.

See?

Eiderdown Records

-ooOOoo-

 

languidly hedonistic: keir neuringer and matthew wright, dale cornish, spoils & relics

April 14, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Keir Neuringer and Matthew Wright – Speak Cities (Extra Normal Records)

Dale Cornish – Cut Sleeve (Halcyon Veil)

Spoils & Relics – Threadbare Adult Life (Second Sleep)

keir neuringer matt wright Keir Neuringer and Matthew Wright – Speak Cities (Extra Normal Records) CD-R

Saxophone and turntable duo reaching into the soul of improvisation.

I’ve been wary of electro acoustic pairings for a little while now – as ever my beef is with technology – so the acoustic seemed to get swamped with the electro and it all became noodling with knobs on.

Not so here on this project from Keir Neuringer (saxes) and Matthew Wright (turntable, computer) that gets the balance perfectly right: Keir’s saxophone is both warm, edgy sighs and full-on honk, joyous and bulbous – with a touch of Ayler’s gospel roots.  Matthew’s turntables imaginatively compliment, re-work and suggest rather than smother in cloying digital sauce.  There’s a light touch and time travelling element as sounds run backwards and repeat on the decks.

Based on improvisations recorded as a duo in Brooklyn then re-sampled and worked on in Canterbury by Matthew the opener ‘Above the Clouds’ is a proud statement of intent – a slowly mutating virus of brassy air and electricity.

The long pieces (three are around quarter of an hour in length) are stuttering slick birdsongs with thin gassy overtones.  They mutate slowly and gracefully, folding in clicks and snitches; iron breath hissed through Talos’ immobile pursed lips.

As ever the devil is in the detail.  Moments of clarity when the busy-fidget swooshes the curtain to one side and presents with an open palm.

“Here.  Look at this…”

…it seems to say, as a new vista is revealed, a fresh clean perspective peering out of the mist teeming with life and insect-scurrying detail.  These brief calm moments create a map of these ornate tessellating sound-pieces.

The sense of movement is palpable.  Like watching leaves jerk in a strong wind, sounds are whipped back and forth with the flexibility afforded by young sap and evolution’s unarguable wisdom.

Bridging the gap between beatnik buzz and technician’s overcoat – perfect dinner party music pre-lift off!

dale cornish

Dale Cornish – Cut Sleeve (Halcyon Veil) sold-out tape and digital download

Sound-placement king and baron of the almost-there; Dale Cornish’s Cut Sleeve sold-out-at-source in a blink of an eye to a switched-on audience.

Both politically angry and languidly hedonistic this ultra minimal slice could have been designed to soundtrack some glistening sci-fi thriller if not foreshadowed by the opener ‘Status 2016’ where a wrecked-electric voice tells us, “In 2016 it is illegal to be gay in approximately 75 nations and regions around the world.”

From then on each sound wobbles with history and heavy intention.

This is a brief record.  No track clears the 3 minute 30 mark but this brevity comes with a deepness and sturdy attention to detail.  ‘LW’ spirals down a wormhole with its one-note bass and endlessly brassy high-hat shimmer.  As if to compete ‘Infix’ introduces a one/two/one/two rhythm-collapse highlighting tiny details in the metallic decay built, or rather knitted, like scabs around the central theme.

Almost a third of ‘Vauxhall’ is a single thin whistle through minty teeth.  Then the milkman is interrupted with haunted snare pops; some electronic damper making each bong hit dank and sticky.

This EP ends with one of Dale’s most impressively warped vocal pieces.  The slo-mo slurp of some repeated phrase slops about between my ears poked through with bright handclaps, occasionally arranged in duos, triplets and quartets.  The ‘Emperor Ai’ of the title is described – perhaps in a cautionary fable but so cunningly and comprehensively mashed I’m left rewinding again and again.

Does this track really end suggesting “rather than buy blubber awake” or are sarcastic laffs that echo in my headphones meant for me?

Breathless am I.

THREADBAREADULTLIFESpoils & Relics – Threadbare Adult Life (Second Sleep) 4 x cassette tape

Damn inscrutable non-music from that most considered of trios – Spoils and Relics.

But before I disappear into a black hole in trying to describe music that denies narrative (see RFM 19th Feb 2014 for Rob Hayler’s excellent thoughts on S&R) a few words on what we actually have here.

If you buy one limited edition, multi-tape boxset this year surely this is the one to grab.  The four lengthy cassettes are groaning with eight full sides of sonic spoils dating back to 2005 (possibly).  The handsome box holds these tapes snug as possums, the insert is cryptically poetic and the weirdly unfathomable artwork is just super-dandy on my rheumy eyes.

Tape one, ‘Rose Tinted (Works 2005 – 2008)’ is a wander by the canal.  Old lock machinery is rusted shut, bright green moss grows up the walls of an underpass; the court buildings are surrounded with smokers and lone men shouting into mobiles. I suppose what I am trying to say here is this is an urban sound, a human sound teeming with busy life in all its forms – from the wild ecstasy of teenage girl-gangs to the yellow finger-nailed grimness of the loner outsider.  A concentrated listen is rewarded as the disparate action-painting (in sound) comes together in peaks – an 8 mm film projector’s delicate and patient click, a voice interrupted or a rush of organ swell.

The spooks of tape are revealed on ‘Packhorse Re-view’, the second cassette that is altogether more spectral than its feisty companion.  Things are left to grow slowly, virus like, as taped interjections (fast forward scree, gritty capstan rattling, earphone socket crackle) are smeared liberally between my sensitive lugs.  The sound of the sound comes to the fore creating layers of sweet hiss and miniature thunder-rumble.  There’s a genius hand on the edit button here by the way – with some movements ending in an abrupt click and others mashed together building a complexity of huss until it all fades to the sound of sweeping leaves.

The power of the indistinct is celebrated on ‘Forgotten Four Way ’ as a thin quavering tone struggles to keep itself from breaking up.  Almost-sounds flitter in and out of focus, partial and half-formed, nothing is allowed to settle for too long.  A constant churn of soft and gentle, an avalanche of chinchilla fur, envelopes an unsuspecting listener warming the cockles like a fine brandy.  But that’s not to say this third cassette is without jeopardy.  Side B starts out with some expert tape-juggle and pretty goofy vocal jaxx that fades into a bloody accordion!  Decorum is quickly restored as super-fast-but-smooth edits reference grandfather clocks, swirling drains, old-style Hollywood and descending keyboard shifts.

Typically there is no conclusive judder to ‘Assembly of Mansfield’ the fourth and final tape in this quartet.  To my ears it seems more voice-based mimicking the sigh of soft breath and pink-squelch of an oesophagus without recourse to amateur endoscope violation.  The timing is sharp as Harold Lloyd’s with each ‘click’ and shuffle exactly in the right place.  Side B reveals some curious slapstick with a dry panting being commented on, “is that a dog?” a deadpan voice declares as we become buried in a malfunctioning toy sending out  sporadic hisses and electronic spurts.

The final few minutes of this tape are almost a montage of everything you’ve heard already but cut shorter and in decreasing level of volume so electronic ‘pips’ and tones melt into milkshake slurp then peter out like the tiniest vinyl crackle.

After listening to such a lengthy and intense set of recordings I’m not sure I can think of any colourful or witty general theme – this is music that simply ‘is’, or if you choose not to, ‘isn’t’.  It doesn’t use fancy equipment or rely on difficult technique – it’s about ears and fingers and the interplay between confident players who trust each other.

And then it dawned on me! What could have been dry, bloodless academic music – something that aspired to musique concrete aspirations is refreshingly removed.  This is No Audience Punk to the New Wave of the pre-packed, non-threatening experimental gravy train.

Neat Neat Neat.

Extra Normal Records

Halcyon Veil

Second Sleep

-ooOOOoo-

abstract ivory plonk: zoe polanski, various hyster artists & robert ridley-shackleton

April 11, 2017 at 7:13 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Zoe Polanski – Inertia. Music from the Motion Picture (Hyster Tapes)

Various Artists- L’Incoronazione (Hyster Tapes)

Robert Ridley Shackelton – Atlas Banghouse (Cardboard Club)

Robert Ridley Shackelton – 0800 NEW CARD (Cardboard Club)

Hyster Zoe Zoe Polanski – Inertia. Music from the Motion Picture (Hyster Tapes) C40 one-sided & recycled tape

Real film vs fake soundtrack // fake film vs real soundtrack  // real film vs real soundtrack // fake film vs fake soundtrack

I started to ponder this conundrum and then just gave up.  This may or may not be a Zoe Polanski or a further pseudonym – Bela Tar – but what this is, 100% truthfully, is one damn fine tape of pushed-out synth/sampler swoop with the buttons taped down on the ‘ecstatic strings’ option.

Imagine taking one split micro-second of 10CC’s ‘I’m not in love’ and smearing that Brummy ‘ahhhhhhh’ all over 20 minutes of atmospheric and recycled tape.  Imagine catching a drip of MBV’s sampler-drek ‘hhuuuhhuuu’ and coating your atmos with that saucy ferric message.

Capiche?

Like an endless happy yawn the constant dragging of the orchestra pit makes me sleepy and lightheaded…but for such a brief soundtrack, moods and motifs keep emerging so I’m also on caffeine-soaked red alert.

The two note breathy faux-voice crops up hystering across the mix like a sea cow or something in ‘Mother’s Theme’.  A sepia-stained, 6th generation dub of (perhaps) a smoke-filled cinema organ adds rhythm to the beautiful yet creepy ‘TV Nightmare’.

Hyster Comp

Various Artists- L’Incoronazione (Hyster Tapes) C20 recycled tape

More ultra-lo-fi tape scrapings from the House of Hyster.

My copy is taped over a ‘Pallo Punainen’ release but sounds excellent and full and wobbly, especially as DEAR BELOVED HENRY hawk out a couple of wonderful untitled tracks that seem to bridge the gap between Gastr Del Sol’s sweetly-composed minimal whimsy and the raw burst of anger unleashed when you realise your car’s been nicked.

No clues as to what turns on DEBT OF NATURE  – bird sounds and cicada-menace haunt their dismal keyboard slouch like teenagers forced to go to Sunday School.  They may tit about in the kitchen but the leavings are pure Lambkin.

Irregular tappings and knocks play us out the first side with R.S.T. seemingly rattling some old rubber-junk while a tape of Max Roach gets more and more distorted in one ear.

Old school hock-rockers GREY PARK reveal a decayed piano tune that doesn’t even reach the 3 minute mark but for me could have continued all afternoon – abstract ivory plonk – what’s not to love?

Without a single Ray Davies riff the AUTUMN APPRECIATION SOCIETY sweep up a baffling collection of grim found sound and added scuzz-electronics.  If this is an autumn scene in Finland then it seems to be heavily industrial Snow-Plows clunking apart to transform into gilded robots.

You looking for proper Northern European, DIY, no-audience, no-frills tape action reader?  Be sure to check out the Hyster.

RRS Atlas Banghouse

Robert Ridley-Shackleton – Atlas Banghouse (Cardboard Club) C30 tape and digital album

It’s no wonder Robert Ridley-Shackleton’s recent move to the thrillingly vibrant city of Bristol has accelerated a change in his distinct ‘pocket-jazz’ sound.  Bristol has long since produced hip outsiders and wierdos to bother the mainstream; now the N-AU get’s a new Bristol lickin’.

In recent conversation with the Cardboard Prince he spilled that Techno was a great and deep love and I’m delighted to report this banger is technological with a distinct hissy twist.

Thin claves and handclaps are a shifting matrix for some pretty heavy squelching and hollow plastic thumping.  In particular ‘No Peaking’ moves jigsaw pieces of rhythm so they fit neat and tight – then wrench them apart so the percussive tabs and blanks get bent out of shape and deformed.

Side two opens with ‘Don’t Worry’ –  a donk, most certainly, ‘on it’ bleating in the sort of time signature Sunny Murray would love as the pots get twisted, letting soft grease flood the headphones.

Fans of the RRS old-school sound need not worry as the subtle and strangely euphoric sounds of the inside of his tape recorder and stressed fruit punnets are writ large on ‘The Ohh Ahh and ‘Duplo goes Chatty Crazy.’

But it’s the closer ‘Birthday Card’ that melds the fine granular huss of classic RRS with the nu-skool beats in new and dangerously exciting ways.

“I think it’s about 140 BPM I think…if you were wondering.”

The Prince helpfully tells us as a feeble clip-clop-clip-clop makes this more paranoid-Fall-album-interlude than filthy-Detroit-floor-filler.

Crackle, crackle…scooouuurrrrrr….hummm (with added sniff).

RRS New card

Robert Ridley-Shackleton – 0800 NEW CARD (Cardboard Club) tape and digital album

Seven new tracks from the Cardboard Prince.  In praise of the skeletal style a skeletal review.

  • 0800 New Card – Brittle drum machines are back / Phat keytar is back / Sex Rap is back
  • Eye Gonna B Rich – Sweet and low tech-experiment-no. The ‘whump’ gets progressively deep
  • Oh Lord – Stream of consciousness, back-room clutter clearance – of the mind. “A microchip or some shit.”
  • My Fashion – 45 seconds of jerry-rigged funk with popgun accents
  • Call me up, Tell me how U feel – delay reaction techno with an ‘I like to party’ baseline
  • Cuz I’m Cool – wrapping party wrench from a sleepy RRS. Dream-logic-plea for Power Rangers
  • Waltz 2016 – Reluctant Jazzie B soundcheck.

Dig a fucking pony!

Hyster Tapes

Cardboard Club

Hyster Both

-ooOOOoo-

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.